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How does Priestley present ideas about gender in An Inspector Calls? (30 marks)
J.B Priestley presents the issue of that how in the early 20th century women were not as equal to men in his play An Inspector Calls. For example, in Act two of the play we realise that Gerald had been seeing Daisy Renton as a mistress, as he had spent the summer with her and lied to Sheila about how he was ‘busy at work’. This suggests that women at the time were demoralised as it was deemed acceptable for young men to have mistresses, but still be engaged to other women. Like Gerald was with Sheila. Priestley may have intended to do this because it could infer to the reader of that because of the inequality that the men acted towards Eva/Daisy could be the reason that she was in a bad position.
Another way of how Priestley presents ideas about gender is that how women were ‘protected’ by men against ‘unpleasant and disturbing things’. This suggests that at the time it was believed that it was a man’s role, to protect his daughters and wife. An example, of this in the play would be how when the Inspector starts to question Gerald about his affair with Daisy, Gerald suggests that ‘Miss Birling ought to be excused ‘. This would infer that Gerald does not want Sheila to hear the in depth activities of his relationship with Daisy, to try and protect her and their engagement. However, this is quite ironic because he is protecting Sheila, although he was helping Daisy have a home to live in, he did not really protect her, as he was using that as an excuse for her to carry on sleeping with him. This furthermore suggests how women were objectified at the time and were seen as sexual items. Priestley may have intended to do this as a way to infer to the audience of that the ideology of how women were treated was wrong. This is because, this was first performed at a theatre in 1945 aimed at upper class families alike the Birling’s.
Finally, issues are also presented not only by the men, but by the woman as well, as when Sheila used her influence to get Eva sacked because she was jealous of how the dress that was ‘the wrong type’ for her but ‘was just the right type for her. This infers that at the time it was not just men that were treating women badly, but upper class women were actually doing the same. As at the time, many women, especially the upper class, would spite each other simply because of vanity and jealousy; which is also associated with women.
"The four Birlings and Gerald are seated at the table, with Arthur Birling at one end, his wife at another" - This could be linked to the role of women in society, that women are not seen as equal to men therefore could be divided off from men because they are not as important as them. So they don’t sit at the same end of the table showing equality, instead they sit far away from each other.
"The lighting should be pink and intimate until the inspector arrives, and then it should be brighter and harder" - Pink is a feminine colour; you could say this is a play about women.The strongest characters are Eva, who is the victim of what men do to her, and at the end of the play, Sheila understands what has happened and could potentially make changes to the future. Sheila is almost moving for change. The women suffer the most and the women come up with solutions to save things.
I literally just went over this haha, hope it helps Sorry I can't really help with marking it though, I'm not good at that ://